Thursday, November 30, 2006

Open the Book

So, I was checking out a few blogs today and there was a blog that had this exercise in their blog. So, I did it. My results will be below the rules ....

The rules are:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

The concentric circles model helps students see that the issue is not wether or not their friends are "good people". It is wether or not their friendships are healthy and going in the right direction.
We need to explaine to our students that all of their friends fall into one of these three categories. The outer circle represents those friends that they are concerned about.

Yes, this was the book by my monitor. It is a book that I am wanting to "re-visit". This book was very important in the last teaching cycle that we did at Discovery.

Relationships and friendships are very crucial for students to grasp and understand and this is an issue that I need to keep in front of my current students as well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How Unique ...

So, I came across a U.S. name site. You enter your name (first and last) and the site tells you the following three things:

- how many people have your first name
- how many people have your last name
- how many people have your name

Here is my results .. how unique are you ?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Core Values: Christ UMC

Well, it has been a long journey. We have been meeting at Christ UMC to come up with core values for the church. These values will be the values that we will put high priority on and this is where our money, time and resources will flow through them.

After listening to the members of the group and with us throwing out ideas and suggestions, I saw a pattern forming and decided to throw out an idea. The idea stuck like a bug in a bug zapper ... so we move forward.

The idea was to use our church name as an acronymn for our core values. I am not a huge fan of acronymns, but they sure do make things a lot easier to remember. Thus, here are the core values that we will be living by:

Reaching Out
Inspiring Worship

We now move to describing them more in-depth and developing our church structure to match these values.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Worry .. Who Me ?

I like the picture. For most people who worry, they place a mask over themselves so others do not know that worry is occurring. It is very much how life is for us, isn't it ?

We put this mask on and try to cover up who we are. However, that is really going to be a different post for a different time because mask wearing is what happens quite frequently in our churches.

Currently, I am in a state of worry. The reason for the worry will not be the topic of this post either. The reason for this post - besides cries from my 2 readers that I needed to update my blog .. I am worrying and see that Time Magazine is doing an article on worry.

Here are some interesting clips for the future article:

We agonize over avian flu, which to date has killed precisely no one in the United States, but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year.

Shoppers still look askance at a bag of spinach for fear of E. coli bacteria while filling their carts with fat-sodden French fries and salt-crusted nachos.

We used to measure contaminants down to the parts per million," says Dan McGinn, a former Capitol Hill staff member and now a private risk consultant. "Now it's parts per billion."

At the same time, 20 percent of all adults still smoke; nearly 20 percent of drivers and more than 30 percent of backseat passengers don't use seat belts; two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.

Which risks get excessive attention and which get overlooked depends on a hierarchy of factors. Perhaps the most important is dread.

Bad things happen and we get worry and fretted. Hurricanes, Typhoons, school shootings ... you make the list. We scream and yell " this is our wake up call "

Well, let me tell you, it is not a wake-up call is the snooze alarm. It agitates us but we do not follow through. We hit the button of life and move on.

What is it that you worry about ? Are they worth worry about ? Are you worry about the right things ?

For me, my list of worry is growing. There are some things that I am extremely concerned about. I think they are legitimate things to worry on.

My challenge is the following: to not let the worry consume me, take one step forward each day and when I am tempted to put on the mask, I need to throw it aside.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Skyline & Christian Witness

I am part of a youth minister forum. One of the topics that we were discussing highlights of the convention. A lot of us were talking about the bands, the seminars, the food, the belly-dancers ( now that is a story ) but one young worker shared his Skyline experience and I must share.

Please read the following:

Our staff went to Skyline on Friday afternoon between sessions because I had been longing for Skyline since we decided to attend the Cinti conference. It was packed, and the staff was overwhelmed. (Sadly, other conventioneers decided to take this opportunity to act grumpy and somewhat juvenile by whining and being rude to the people who were working their tails off to keep up.)

When our server got to the table to take our order, we told her we hadn't even had menus yet. She apologized and told us that they didn't know there was going to be a convention in town, the dishwasher had called in, and she and her sister were the only ones waiting tables. (Her sister was supposed to have gone home 3 hours before, and she had even put her 2 teenage daughters into service with refills and ice duty.)

To make a short story boring, our Jr. High Youth Director suggested we wash dishes for a little while to help them catch up. We washed dishes for 3 hours and had an absolute blast! Yes, we missed the evening General Session, and I'm bummed that we didn't get a chance to see Donald Miller because I was really looking forward to his talk, but it was totally worth it. Here's why...

The nephew of the server was working that night, and she told us that he hadn't been to church--or had anything to do with the church--for quite some time. However, seeing us (and a few folk from another group) dive in to help out made him rethink his position on Christians. He planned to go to worship with his family last weekend because "if that's the way Christian people act, then they may not be that bad." It turns out our server was a drug addict until last year, and it was her local church that helped her on the road toward sobriety. We heard some wonderful stories and we had an incredible evening. What a gift!

A reminder that we need to be the hands and feet of Christ

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

YS Convention

I am sitting in my office - getting ready to head home. There were 6 of us that went to YS - Cincy this year. Over all, I really did have a good time.

I was a little disappointed with the exhibit hall - but on Thursday night - they sure did have some great snacks. There seems to be an overload of mission trip organizations. This is an issue for me that I am going to have to work through theologically.

The general sessions were excellent. The worship was very good and the speakers were great. Each speaker came from a different perspective and taught we numerous things. The one thing that stuck the accord with me was Wait On God and make sure that we are being spiritually fed and remember that we are a child of God.

The seminars were very good. They were the best ones that I have attended over the years. I really enjoyed Tony which I mentioned earlier. I am going to expound on him a lot tomorrow. The other speaker that really touched me was Ken Moser. I will also touch one him later ( it may be after Thanksgiving 0.

The concerts were great. If you are into hard-core / heavy metal / rap all thrown in one and want a clean message - check out Family Force Five.

Finally, I loved being there with my team and seeing them have fun and growing closer to God.

My one regret - which it is the same each year, I wish I would spend some time with my blogging/forum/internet friends.

More later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Toby Mac

We just got back in to Lafayette. Toby Mac concert on Sunday night was once again fantastic. It was a great way to finish off the night.

After a day of reflecting, I am going to post a general thought on the convention. Overall, I was pleased about the convention. In a sense, I am not 100% sure that I want to return next year.

Yet, there is something inside me that says, " it is tradition, you need to get away, you may miss something and when the time comes around ... you will want to be there ". We will see.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tony Compolo

I have got to say that in the 7 different years that I have attended YS, Tony may have given one of the best seminars that I have ever heard. He did a fantastic job. When I have my notes, some time to reflect, I am going to make a huge post on his seminar.

Till then, I will carry 3 very important words with me from his seminar. WAIT ON GOD.


On Thursday night, we cruised through the convention center. I thought the exhibit hall was very weak this year.

However, Starfield gave us a great concert. Thank-you for playing REVOLUTION, it absolutely rocked and the place was jumping and WOW what a room for a concert.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Going to YS

In about 2 1/2 hours, I am headed off to YS in Cincy. I am looking forward to some Worship with Crowder ( above ) and Starfield. I am really wanting to hear Revolution, so I hope that I am not disappointed in that area.

There looks like there is going to be a few good seminars and some of the general sessions should really be fantastic.

It will be very nice to get way for 5 days and spend time with my wife, my adult leaders and 5,000 youth workers.

Hopefully, there will be numerous ah-ha moments for me and my team and we will see ops for us to implement a few things into the ministry that will make a real impact.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Encourage

Encouragement is reaching out to individuals. On Sunday night, we really broke down the concept that encouragement is a lot more than ... Wow, that is a nice dress you are wearing.

We also nixed the notion on the following phrase: Mind Your Own Business. As Christians and a Community, we are the body and we need to know what is occurring in one anothers lives, so we can encourage and help one another.

This past series " relationship rules " are all about laying the foundation for our vision: we will be a place that is relational and where individuals can be authentic.

We can create that type of ministry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rutgers Beats Louisville

Wow, that a game. Rutgers beats the number 3 team in the nation. They played a great game and kicked the winning field gol with 13 seconds left in the game to win the game 28-25.

Rice ( in the photo ) had a great game and an unbelievable 4th quarter to take the Knights to victory. The Big East is playing some good football.

Louiville's hope for the national championship is now ruined, however WVU now still has hope for the BCS game if they can win out - including the win versus Rutgers.

Jim Webb Takes Virginia

Here are words from the News Story

Less than an hour after Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen conceded and the U.S. Senate was handed to the Democrats, Jim Webb addressed a cheering crowd.

Before he spoke, Webb waved a pair of combat boots in the air - a campaign trademark for the former Navy secretary whose Marine son is fighting in Iraq.

"We have a much stronger Democratic party...We're going to work hard to bring a sense of responsibility in our foreign policy that will, in my view, result in a diplomatic solution in Iraq," he said.

Here Are My Thought

Well, it is official. The Dems have taken control of the house and the senate. We will now see if there is a change. The Dems and the anti-rep crowd has had some harsh words ( deservably so ). Now it is time for them to mve / work and move us as a nation towards some solution>


Webb, that is some kind of face.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Violence Heating Up

Well, violence is heating up. Here is one thing that began the process ( below my write up ). There have been a few attacks and threats of truces be "blown up." This is going to have the potential to get real ugly really quick, not that it has been pretty.

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip - Israeli tank shells ripped through a residential neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, killing at least 18 members of an extended family, including eight children as they slept, Palestinian health officials and witnesses said.

Hamas’ exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, said a 2005 truce with Israel was finished and appealed to all Palestinian factions to resume attacks: “There must be a roaring reaction so that we avenge all those victims.” Two Palestinian militant groups promised to step up suicide attacks in response.

Hamas’ military wing in Gaza urged Muslims worldwide to attack U.S. targets, a call disavowed by the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Rumsfeld Resigns

On my youth ministry forum that I belong to, I got a little fire thrown at me with my initial comment about Rumsfeld. I will let you read two of my responses back. A lot of individuals thought I did it because I am not a Republican supporter .. that is not the case. Here are my two responses:

It has been brewing for a long time. When you have individuals in the field that are wanting you out, disagreeing with your stance and feeling like that you are not listening to those in the field and you do nothing ---- it is going to turn around and bite you.

Rumsfield had numerous opportunities to turn it around and give the impression that he was going to make a difference.

Also in response to not liking Republicans and only making remarks because he is a conservative republican .. here are my thoughts:

It has nothing to do with what he has behing his name. I could not care less if he is a republican, democrat, liberterian, independent, green party or ....

It is about that he has and has not done in my opinion with the war. To me, in all the races that I vote on, I never look at what they are .. I never vote with party lines.

I look at the issues and where they stand.

In office, once again, it is what you are doing. I would say the same thing to anyone ( about anyone ) who I feel is doing a terrible job.

I think Rumsfield has messed up. He has not only caused great pain to many serviceman/woman and families here but the people of Iraq and coalition forces standing beside us.

I am not a republican hater and I do not dislike the U.S. I think that we as a country though have screwed a few things up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Whirly Ball

I just recently came across Whirly Ball. I had never heard of it untill earlier this week. I want to go and play. I want to grab my adult leaders and for us to make a trip and play. I think that would be a blast. I think that the closet place to go and play would be Chicago.

Has anyone played this yet ? What was your experience ? If you are not familiar with it , do a search. It is somewhat of a mix of bumper cars, lacross and basketball.

This is a must do in my mind.

It is time to Vote

It is Tuesday, november 7th which means it is time to vote. I went out to our voting poll place ( Concord Community Church ) and voted. For me and that polling area, it looked pretty simple. There were no lines, all electronic voting boots were working and it seemed EXTREMELY SIMPLE to navigate.

So, I get on the comp to do some research for our 2008 international mission trip and the headlines on the Yahoo page is about the voting fiascos in our state ( Indiana ). How all over, there are problems with the machines, people can not figure out how to vote and so on ......

You would think that we would be able to figure this out and get the job done. I am sure that no matter what happens, there will be people complaing and belly-aching that their vote did not count ( whether it be true or not ). I need to walk down the hall and see how the voting is going in our church building ( coffee is down there ).

Then tonight, it will be watching news networks to see who the votes went for. Will it be the elephants or the donkeys.

BTW, for diversity sake, I was very happy to see there were a few liberterians on our ballots.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween 2006

Here are my kids. We had a very fun time this year. Bethany was a strawberry. Jacob was a vampire. Isaiah was a zombie pirate.

We made a few visits to fellow staff members homes before we went to the mall. At the mall, each store had someone standing in the hallway passing out candy. There were literally thousand+ kids there but it really did not seem overly crowed.

We then headed home and ate dinner and passed out some candy to local neighborhood kids who were still hitting houses after 7 pm.

A very nice and relaxing night ... all considered.

Iraq News

The photo above shows one side of the story when the verdict came down : Saddam Gets Death. There are numerous individuals that are estatic about the verdict and there is a large group of individuals that are upset, hurt and disappointed in the verdict.

The following paragraph from a yahoo news story can give the insight from the party differentials:

The tribunal's creators had hoped that the forum would play a central role in closing the door on 30 years of ruthless oppression under Hussein. Indeed, Shiites and Kurds, who bore the brunt of tens of thousands of deaths at the hands of the regime, were jubilant. But that joy was tempered among Sunnis disenfranchised by Hussein's overthrow, and angry over what many saw as a political trial overly dependent on American experts and resources. The result, experts say, is a positive step for Iraqi justice, but one that reveals a deep and continuing weakness in the rule of law.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All Saints Sunday

Today, November 5th was All Saints Sunday. We highlighted this at our church in two different ways. One, the middle school and high school Sunday class both at studies on Saints of the Church and why we should celebrate them.

In our worship service, Pastor Jim preached a fantastic sermon / message that dealt with the holiday. One of the things that impacted me the most was for us to remember that we are standing on the shoulders of the great men and woman that were before us.

Also, for us to look for them in their kids, grandkids and for their spirit still being active in the church.

May we remember all the individuals who have loved God and now are partying with Him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WVU Loses

Louisville bolstered its national title hopes on Thursday with a convincing 44-34 victory over Big East rival West Virginia (yahoo sports ).

Well, there goes my hopes that WVU may play for the national championship this year. I think that they played a pretty good game - minus the first 5 mins. of the 3rd quarter. The turnover for a TD and punt return for a TD did them in.

Pat White did have a good game ... look at the stats .. 13-21, 222 yds passing and he had 22 Rush, 133 yds, 4 TDs. Slaton had a good game too. he did have the two fumbles though which cost us but 200 yards rushing / receiving is very good.